The challenge addressed by the FOCUS project is the lack of knowledge and skills of foreign language teachers in effectively teaching children with learning difficulties. This challenge is compounded by the increasing emphasis on foreign language acquisition as a tool, rather than just a learning content, in primary schools across EU countries. As a result, there is a need to create inclusive learning environments and develop new and innovative methods for teaching foreign languages to children with learning difficulties. The project aims to renew and systematize educational practices, develop accessible learning resources, address emotional and cognitive barriers, and tackle language barriers to provide a more inclusive and effective learning experience for all students.
At FOCUS, we firmly believe that with the proper inclusive supports, methodologies and policies - foreign languages can be made accessible to learners of all cognitive and physical profiles. And an integrated, dynamic instructional approach is vital to making this vision a reality in classrooms worldwide. It is a complex challenge but tackling it can change lives across global communities.
The aim of the FOCUS project is to transform the landscape of foreign language education to one that is inclusive and accessible for all students – especially those with learning difficulties who face systemic barriers.
In specific terms, our aims are to:
1) Equip teachers with specialized training in differentiated instruction, assistive technologies, and evidence-based methods that cater to diverse learning needs. We want to significantly upskill educators in responsive teaching.
2) Provide a comprehensive set of standards, models and planning resources derived from real inclusive language classrooms around the world. This will expand educator toolkits.
3)Develop engaging, multisensory educational games and activities aligned to a spectrum of abilities and skill levels - making language acquisition achievable for students.
4) Enact Meaningful Policy Reforms that reduce restrictions and foster participation for those with disabilities or learning challenges.
5) Change Mindsets around the capacity for those with special needs to attain fluency given proper supports. Challenge assumptions through results.
At the heart of FOCUS is the conviction that every single student, regardless of their start point, can unlock communication in a new language with the appropriate support.
Our objectives are to:
The above SMART objectives will allow FOCUS to tangibly work towards its aims related to specialized teacher training, actionable standards, adaptive learning tools, changed mindsets and supportive policies – ultimately ensuring access and achievement in world languages for all students.